Without Tears

I am not sure that this entry will be written without tears, because I’m thinking about so many things that my emotions might leak. I might let the audio sit for a day or two, just to get some emotional distance. It helps the narration if I don’t have to blow my nose. Also, I’m sorry if the audio is poor. I have five housemates and I don’t have an “on air” light, nor would they pay attention to it. I am, however, surprised at just how much my Bluetooth mic picks up. The mic is literally in my ear, and it still picks up noise from all over the second floor. It helps me, though, because it keeps me from flooding out…. So that I can record an entry without tears…. 98% of the time.

I am positive that some people were confused at me crying over the death of Tony Mendez, but let me tell you why. I wrote about it, but it’s been long enough and I haven’t mentioned the connection more than once so it’s time for a rehash.

I wasn’t finished with grieving my mother when Tony died. Grief compounds. Therefore, I knew innately what his widow, Jonna, was going through in terms of having to tough out a public event all armored up while dying inside. My mirror neurons went off like crazy. My grief mixed with hers even though we didn’t talk about it. I took all of that grief home with me and mourned Tony and my mother simultaneously. Therefore, years later, when I think about grief, Tony and my mother both come to mind.

Mourning my mother was so great a loss that I put it deep down inside, hardly ever talked about it unless the other person in the conversation had already lost a parent. This is because the chance was too great that I would open myself up to further injury, because people have no idea what to say and often make it worse.

I will tell you right now that the only thing I actually wanted said was “I’m sorry.” I loved people that showed up and were willing to sit in the silence until I could emote.

Digging that deep was so incredibly hard that I still hadn’t cried as much as I needed to. Crying about Tony was only partially about Tony. The loss of a new book from him ever again really was devastating. But mostly it’s that the grief I felt regarding him was so much bigger than that. Grieving over him allowed me to process my mother’s death, because it was the entrance to a deep, dark cave, ripe for excavation. I just didn’t have any spelunking equipment.

Meeting Jonna was at least the hat with the light.

She broke me open in just the right way, at just the right time. Her armor was my armor laid out in front of me where I could take it in… where I could see my own actions in the third person omniscient.

So, when I talk about Tony Mendez, I can’t do it without tears.

Going through a breakup with a friend has been devastating, and yet not at all. It just depends on the day. Some days I think “no one is her,” and some days I just can’t. What has helped is a book called “My Other Ex,” stories of women who’ve lost their best friends and why “no one is her.” One thing they expressed universally is that with other women, you get so close you can speak without words, but there is no recognition of that type of grief.

I am an INFJ. I feel emotions so deeply that they’re capable of overtaking common sense, and I could write a seven volume book series on my dumbass attacks. Not only do I understand, I grok.

I understand so completely that their grief is my grief. Grief compounds. I cannot talk about that relationship ending without tears. So I compartmentalize, and armor up. No one is trying to see me cry in line at Whole Foods.

Armoring up is necessary only because if I don’t, I will just bleed out emotionally. In the moments where I am not capable of armoring up, it means the grief is too deep. So even though no one was trying to see me cry at a Whole Foods, they must have thought that them being out of the veggie dogs I like was being taken way too seriously.

Although I will say that it was legit a problem. If veggie dogs, vegan cream cheese, and hot sauce didn’t exist, I’d probably be dead by now. I eat them all the time. It’s my favorite lunch, because it takes about a minute to make. Yes, I am a very good cook, but I eat prepared foods most of the time. This is because I don’t want to devote the time and energy to prep. If you come over to eat, I will pull out my good knife. Left to my own devices, I run on sandwiches and Crystal Light.

I believe in Crystal Light, because Crystal Light has always believed in me. Also, not going to lie- finding out there are flavors with caffeine in them has made my whole life easier. I cannot talk about Crystal Light Energy without tears. 😛

“Spare” is a rough read, and I cannot do it without tears, either. Prince Harry and I have so much in common. My platform as preacher’s kid was so much smaller, but I can empathize with his pain. I’ve cried over the loss of Princess Diana, being different than everyone else because he wants to speak his truth, and the list goes on.

And then he went to Afghanistan, and I went from tears to the full-on sob.

I have said over and over that The War Daniel is my primary partner, and that if he changes his mind about marrying me, it’s over for anyone else. The reason that they don’t stand a chance is that we have a trauma bond, which is like a regular bond on steroids.

He’s the only person ever to make me feel better about the emotional abuse handed down to me over the years. I couldn’t listen to him without tears of relief. He said, “your trauma is so much worse than mine, because my enemies in Afghanistan were clearly defined. Yours were the ones closest to you, turncoats all.” If he is willing to walk in my inner landscape, I am willing to walk in his.

In fact, I am hoping to God I didn’t just reject a call from him.

The area code on my phone was his, but the name was “Telemarketer.” They didn’t leave a message, so I hope that means it really was an auto dial. Someone in rehab feeling rejected is not my MO, especially because I need him to know that I love him, honestly and completely.

The only reason I’m even saying that it’s up in the air is because I’m willing to date people casually until January. At that point, it’s a different ball game. I need to know if he still feels the same way after the fog has cleared from his brain. Again, I am trying to think logically through rehab and its aftermath, experience I’ve gotten from being a friend and a coworker.

But even though I’ve dealt with addicts my entire cooking life, that doesn’t mean I can do it without tears. What if he doesn’t come back? What if I’m waiting for nothing? I only think that in my smallest moments, though, because I’m not ready for a serious relationship, anyway. Even the relationship that Daniel and I created previously wasn’t serious. He didn’t tell me to break up with Zac, and thinks he’s adorable (because he is). I didn’t tell him I needed him to be faithful, either. He was going to be off doing his own thing. The best I hoped for this year was letters, calls, perhaps a short visit since he can fly here so easily and without money. The only constraint that the military would put on him is time…. Being flexible about his departure and arrival depending on how many standby seats were available.

The only part that was serious is dreaming of the life I wanted to create with him once he was capable of doing so. It fits my purposes nicely that he doesn’t drink, because I so rarely indulge. Zac likes cocktails, and so do I, especially if it’s something I’ve never tasted before. Therefore, I will always take a drink if Zac is bartending, but I don’t even keep alcohol at my house. I would rather drink Crystal Light. I think we have covered this. 😛

Right now, I am not communicating with Doc. It’s not because I don’t love him more than life itself. I need him to get well, and I don’t want to be a distraction in any way. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if he thought I needed help more than him and decided to come to my rescue at the expense of his own. The best thing I could possibly do is let rehab have him, and he’ll be done in May.

On the surface, it looks like I am batshit crazy and I realize this. Combat vet and alcoholic. Leslie, are you insane?

Yes, and that’s the point.

Daniel was HM2 in the Navy. That is the equivalent of a civilian nurse practitioner. Therefore, I feel safe with him because me being bipolar would never be an issue. I trust his judgment. If Doc says he can tell whether I’m up or down, I will take that check to the bank and cash it.

On the flip side, is it any wonder that I know how to support a Doc? My family is all medicine, all the time.

A really funny conversation between Doc and me ran thusly:

“I think I’m getting hypomania.” “And what are your qualifications to make this diagnosis?” “I went to medical school in the backseat of a Lexus.”

I am good at standing (sitting) behind people and listening closely.

I have been listening to Doc closely, and trying to understand his pain. Most of the time, I cannot do it without tears. If I start down the road of Doc doing this brave thing and how it was his worst day, I will collapse in a heap. It’s why I’m wiling to forgive him, and struggling through it. I have to forgive him whether he reappears or not. The forgiveness isn’t for him. It’s for me. I won’t be myself until all of this is resolved, even if it’s just getting my own closure.

The only reason I haven’t closed the door is that I can’t think of him going through rehab without tears, either. I know what that’s like, not from a first-person perspective, but from having a best friend back in the day who went through what Doc is going through now. I remember that I gave her a ring that looked like leaves encircling her finger, in honor of turning over her new leaf.

I wear my skeleton claddagh with pride on my right hand, or I did until the silver wore off and it turned my finger green. That’s not Doc’s fault. It wasn’t a gift. I bought it as a placeholder and told Doc where to find my favorite jewelry.

I should call around and see if I can find a maker who does plating. Even nickel would protect the metal. The only reason it’s worth plating a ring that cost $3.00 is that it’s so unique. Doc is a death metal fan. Skeleton claddagh is not my style, it’s his. Even after he broke up with me, I still wore it like a #livestrong bracelet. It didn’t mean we were still together, just that I hope to God that sending support would help, even if he never knew about it. I mean, he knows I have it and I have sent him a picture, but it might surprise him to know that the ring turned my finger green a few days ago. I didn’t give up on the ring, it gave up on me.

Perhaps it’s for the best that I’m not constantly looking down at my right hand, longing for a dream that might never come. I just don’t want to be certain about anything regarding him, because rehab is hard work and your emotions are all over the place. Again, Cora has said that she doesn’t think my faith in her father is misplaced, so I’m choosing to believe her. Keeping my own strength up is what’s important, because my faith in her father is important to me being who I am through all of this, too.

What kind of partner would I be if I gave up on him while he needed so much compassion? I know what it’s like to push someone away because you’re traumatized, and his trauma goes to eleven. Our pain isn’t even on the same playing field.

….and I can’t think about that without tears.


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